World map

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**Map Projections**
– All world maps are based on various map projections.
– Map projections distort geographic features, distances, and directions.
– Mercator Projection is a well-known projection originally designed for nautical charts.
– Other projections include Mollweide, Cahill Butterfly Map, Polar azimuthal equidistant, and Robinson.
– Different projections balance accuracy and distortion in different ways.

**Thematic Maps**
– Thematic maps focus on specific geographical subjects.
– They can portray physical, social, political, cultural, economic, or agricultural aspects.
– Early world maps depict the world from the Iron Age to the Age of Discovery.
– Old maps provide insights into past knowledge and cultural influences on cartography.
– Maps are a means for scientists to share ideas and knowledge across generations.

**World Map Content**
– A world map covers most or all of Earth’s surface.
– World maps deal with projection issues due to rendering in two dimensions.
– Techniques have been developed to present world maps with diverse goals.
– Creating an accurate world map required global knowledge of Earth’s features.
– Maps generally focus on political, physical, geological, or choropleth features.

**Further Reading**
– “The World Map, 1300–1492: The Persistence of Tradition and Transformation” by Evelyn Edson.
– “The Hereford world map: medieval world maps and their context” by P. D. A. Harvey.
– These books provide insights into the history and evolution of world maps.
– They offer perspectives on the cultural, social, and technological aspects of cartography.
– Understanding the context of map-making throughout history is essential for appreciating modern cartography.

– American Cartographic Associations Committee on Map Projections (1988).
– Thematic Maps Archived 7 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine Map Collection & Cartographic Information Services Unit.
– History of maps and cartography.
– Evelyn Edson’s “The World Map, 1300–1492” and P. D. A. Harvey’s “The Hereford world map” are recommended readings.
– These references provide valuable insights into the evolution and significance of world maps.

World map (Wikipedia)

A world map is a map of most or all of the surface of Earth. World maps, because of their scale, must deal with the problem of projection. Maps rendered in two dimensions by necessity distort the display of the three-dimensional surface of the Earth. While this is true of any map, these distortions reach extremes in a world map. Many techniques have been developed to present world maps that address diverse technical and aesthetic goals.

A world map on the Winkel tripel projection,
a low-error map projection adopted by the National Geographic Society for reference maps
NASA's Blue Marble Next Generation, a composite of cloud-free satellite images

Charting a world map requires global knowledge of the Earth, its oceans, and its continents. From prehistory through the Middle Ages, creating an accurate world map would have been impossible because less than half of Earth's coastlines and only a small fraction of its continental interiors were known to any culture. With exploration that began during the European Renaissance, knowledge of the Earth's surface accumulated rapidly, such that most of the world's coastlines had been mapped, at least roughly, by the mid-1700s and the continental interiors by the twentieth century.

Maps of the world generally focus either on political features or on physical features. Political maps emphasize territorial boundaries and human settlement. Physical maps show geographical features such as mountains, soil type, or land use. Geological maps show not only the surface, but characteristics of the underlying rock, fault lines, and subsurface structures. Choropleth maps use color hue and intensity to contrast differences between regions, such as demographic or economic statistics.

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